Karen Sherman


Akilah Institute

Karen Sherman, author of the book, Brick by Brick — Building Hope and Opportunity for Women Survivors Everywhere (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020), has spent her life advocating for women in war-torn and transitional countries around the world. Throughout her 30-plus year career in global development, Sherman has met and interviewed thousands of women. Their remarkable stories of courage, resilience and resourcefulness fuel what she believes to be true: women’s education and economic participation have the power to transform the lives of women and the future of families, communities and societies.

Sherman has spent decades translating this belief into action, in field offices and boardrooms and with leaders at all levels, including heads of state, ambassadors, business leaders, academics, and non-governmental organizations. Sherman passionately speaks and writes about advancing women’s educational and economic opportunities. Currently, she serves as President of Akilah, East Africa’s preeminent institute for women’s education, leadership and career development. Prior to joining Akilah, Sherman was a senior executive at Women for Women International, an organization that enables women survivors of war to restart their lives. She began writing Brick by Brick during the year she spent living in Rwanda with her three sons to oversee the construction of a first-of-its-kind women’s opportunity center.

Sherman is a sought-after speaker on global women’s issues and has been featured on BBC, CNBC, and Al Jezerra and written for ABCNews.com, Africa.com, Huffington Post, the Council on Foreign Relations, among other outlets. She also served as Executive Producer of The Other Side of War: Women’s Stories of Survival and Hope, published by National Geographic.

Sherman lives in Bethesda, Maryland with her husband and their three sons. She holds a Master’s Degree in Russian and East European Studies from The George Washington University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Oregon.